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Hooray for Hollywood

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Sunday July 28, 2019

The movies didn't spoil my books. They're still on the shelves.—James M. Cain, author of The Postman Rings Twice

One writer told me that she had been advised to hold onto the film rights to the book she’s currently making an effort to place. I looked at her blankly. Discussing the sale of film rights to an unsold book is a pretty minuscule—not to say completely irrelevant—consideration. Sell the book first. Moreover, very few books are optioned for film, much less actually turned into one. That said, of course you want to keep whatever rights you are able to, or as large a percentage of them as you can, but never let that be a dealbreaker.

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Publishizer Is Building An International Virtual Agency

publishersweekly.com – Saturday July 27, 2019

Can a nomadic Australian tech entrepreneur transform literary agenting? Guy Vincent thinks he can. Vincent says that in 2013 he was living in Singapore and working for Tien Wah Press, one of the region’s largest printers, when his friend Jackie Treagus asked for help publishing her book—a pocked-size cookbook for adventurers titled The Backpacker Chef. Vincent helped Treagus raise $5,220 through crowdfunding, garnering 522 preorders, and thus Publishizer was born.

Fast forward six years and Publishizer has become, Vincent says, “the world’s first crowdfunding literary agency.” He is speaking via phone from Amsterdam, where he lives after moving from Singapore to Bali, then Peru and New York City. The company is based in the Netherlands due to a $420,000 investment from Netherlands-based Arches Capital, which built on an earlier $100,000 investment from 500 Startups, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley.

Initially, Publishizer launched its own crowdfunding platform to fund books that would then be self-published, taking 5% of the money raised as a fee for the service. As the company grew, it began seeing that publishers were interested in acquiring books that had garnered more than 500 preorders on the platform and began placing books with publishers on behalf of authors. Today, Publishizer takes a fee of 30% of the crowdfunding campaign’s earnings, but it gets no cut of any ensuing publishing deal, and authors are also free to sign up agents and publishers on their own.

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Is the Internet Making Writing Better?

newyorker.com – Friday July 26, 2019

A common refrain from writers on Twitter is that writing is hard. Often, this insight is accompanied by the rueful observation that tweeting is easy. This is, of course, the difference between informal and formal expression, between language that serves as a loose and intuitive vehicle for thought and language into which one must wrestle one’s thought like a parent forcing his squirming kid into a car seat. We’ve long had both formal and informal modes of speech. The first pours from political orators; the second winds around friends at a bar. But, as the linguist Gretchen McCulloch reveals in “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language,” her effervescent study of how the digital world is transfiguring English, informal writing is relatively new. Most writing used to be regulated (or self-regulated); there were postcards and diary entries, but even those had standards. It’s only with the rise of the Internet that a truly casual, willfully ephemeral prose has ascended—and become central to daily life.

McCulloch begins with a taxonomy; different cohorts of users have different linguistic tells. “Pre Internet People” (think grandparents) tend to avoid acronyms like “ttyl”—mostly because they don’t know acronyms like “ttyl.” “Semi Internet People,” who logged on, in the late nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, as adults, are more likely to type “LOL” than “lol”; they don’t view digital conversation as the place for tonal subtlety. “Full Internet People,” who grew up with AOL Instant Messenger and joined Facebook as young adults, are fluent in text-speak but perhaps less steeped in the grammar of newer platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp. (McCulloch identifies a source of mutual misunderstanding between Full Internet People, who “infer emotional meaning” in symbols like the ellipsis, and Semi Internet People, who perceive such additions as straightforward bits of sentence structure.) Finally, there are “Post Internet People,” who joined Facebook after, rather than before, their parents. They’re the ones to watch: the digital avant-garde.

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'Ridiculed and not taken seriously': why fan fiction deserves more credit

smh.com.au – Saturday July 20, 2019

When Astrid Scholte was a teenager she was enthralled by the science fiction television series Farscape, a sweeping intergalactic space opera. She couldn't get enough.

The internet was a smaller universe in 2000, but online Scholte discovered a trove of fictional stories inspired by the characters and world of the show, written by other obsessed fans.

Soon, Scholte started studiously writing her own "episodes" to broaden the dimensions of her favourite television show.

"I didn't realise what I was doing was fan fiction. I did not realise there was a term distinctly defined back then," Scholte says.

These days, Scholte receives her own notes from fans after publishing her debut young adult fantasy novel Four Dead Queens in March.

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Writing Jobs

benzinga.com – Saturday July 20, 2019

Are you a talented wordsmith? Writing careers offer many different job titles, roles and can also offer a lot of flexibility through full-time work or part-time gigs. We’ve researched various writing jobs, their pay and what both the current and future job market look like. Read on for our best tips to learn how you can find a writing job that matches your skills.

Main Takeaways: Getting a Writing Job

  • Writing is a diverse field. From creative to technical, there is a type of writing that fits almost all interests.
  • You don’t necessarily need a degree. You can get a writing job from studying English in college, or you can put together a portfolio of work.
  • There are many skills that make someone successful in writing. We explore this and more, including job listings, below.

[Read the full article]

Adventures in Script-Writing

counterpunch.org – Friday July 19, 2019

Over the years I’ve had approximately twenty scripts produced at small theaters in and around Hollywood and Orange County. None of these plays were celebrated or spectacular, mind you, just some offbeat comedies (in what might be called the “minimalist” tradition) that were fortunate enough to attract modest audiences willing to pay $25.

Live theater, particularly when you’re doing original scripts, is a fascinating process. You start by submitting a script to the artistic director of a theater. If they agree to produce it, you hold auditions, cast the roles, conduct rehearsals (usually four to six weeks), have your “tech week” (where the cast dresses in their costumes, and all the technical stuff—lights, musical cues, and special effects—are integrated into the performance), followed by opening night. Which is both exhilarating and terrifying.

Original plays are also challenging in ways that established plays are not. The difference between an actor doing material by a dead playwright like Arthur Miller or Agatha Christie, and doing material by a famous but living playwright like Christopher Durang or Beth Henley, is that the actor is never going to suggest to the director that the script be changed. Not in his or her wildest dreams would they suggest such a thing. (“Can’t we shorten that speech by Hamlet?” Make it lighter?”)

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David Ly and Jenny Ferguson In Conversation

this.org – Wednesday July 17, 2019

Meet This Magazine‘s new Poetry Editor, David Ly, and Fiction Editor, Jenny Ferguson. Jenny Ferguson is Métis, an activist, feminist, auntie, teacher, and accomplice with a PhD. She is the author of Border Markers (NeWest Press), a collection of linked flash fiction narratives. Jenny believes writing and teaching are political acts. David Ly is a writer and poet based in Vancouver. His poetry has appeared in range of magazines and anthologies, including The Puritan, The /temz/ Review, Prism international, Pulp Literature, The Maynard, and carte blanche. He is the author of the chapbook, Stubble Burn (Anstruther Press) and the upcoming collection Mythical Man (Anstruther Books, 2020). Here, Jenny and David interview each other about their new roles, what they’re looking for in a poem or story, and the future of CanLit.

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Tips From Publishers: How Authors Can Improve Their Chances Of Getting Published

By Hollie Jones
Freelance Blogger

firstwriter.com – Wednesday July 17, 2019

What are the odds of an author getting a book published? According to literary agent Chip MacGregor, the chances could be as low as 0.0065%. If you want to be one of the few writers who are able to make a book and see it on the shelves, you have to get it in front of publishers and give them something they can work with. From finding the right niche to getting an agent, here’s what you can do to improve your chances of getting published.

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Author Myke Cole talks writing hard science fiction in his space-set Coast Guard novel Sixteenth Watch

theverge.com – Monday July 15, 2019

Myke Cole is best known for his fantasy work, including his military-focused urban fantasy Shadow Ops series and his more traditionally epic fantasy Sacred Throne trilogy. But with his next novel, Sixteenth Watch, he’s switching things up a bit, swapping out the swords and sorcery for spacecraft in his first novel-length science fiction work.

Like Cole’s other books, his next draws on his personal military experience. But instead of putting the spotlight on the usual branches of the armed forces seen in military science fiction, like the Army or Marines (or even a Space Force), it focuses on the United States Coast Guard attempting to de-escalate a potential war on the Moon between the United States and China.

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‘Read, read, read to stoke the furnace,’ and more writing advice from Luis Alberto Urrea

pbs.org – Friday July 12, 2019

When Luis Alberto Urrea was 21 years old, he received a pearl of wisdom from Rudolfo Anaya, considered one of the founding authors of contemporary Chicano literature. “If you can make your Mexican grandmother the grandmother of a reader in Iowa or Nebraska through your art,” Anaya said, “then you have accomplished the most powerful, moral and political act in the world.”

Since then, Urrea says, that advice has woven its way into everything he’s written. Urrea, who was born in Tijuana and whose father is Mexican and mother American, often writes about the Mexican-American experience in his novels, nonfiction, essays and poems. He is a 2005 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for “The Devil’s Highway,” his nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the barren Arizona desert. His most recent book, “The House of Broken Angels,” is the June pick for PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club, “Now Read This.”

Below, Urrea shares more advice for writers and readers about establishing a routine (or not), starting anywhere with literature (you never know it will lead), and getting inspiration in unlikely places (even from the symphony).

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